Changing your mind is not only not hypocrisy, but in fact can be its diametric opposite. When a person gains new information or has new experiences and subsequently changes his or her thinking and/or actions as a result thereof, that is evolution, not a sign of insincerity. Indeed, not changing your stance and behavior when your mind has been changed is the true mark of mendacity.
So while in the early days of the outbreak of the 2020 global pandemic many in the medical community were at best ambiguous on the necessity of wearing face masks when out of your home, there is no ambiguity among those in the know now.
In a recent live interview conducted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most prominent and, arguably, most respected health official in America tasked with handling the COVID-19 pandemic in this country, made one thing clear: you must wear a mask when you are in proximity to anyone outside your quarantine bubble. This admonition is unequivocal, notwithstanding the challenges many raise based on the fact that medical advice has changed on mask wearing in recent months.
Dr. Fauci makes it clear that, a far cry from the early days of the novel coronavirus outbreak in America when he and other medical professionals did not essentially mandate mask wearing in public, “our insistence now [is] on wearing masks,” with “our” referring to medical experts. He goes on to say: “Masks are very important; they protect you from giving infection to someone else if you happen to be inadvertently infected” and also reminds us once again that many people who “experience” COVID-19 do so without appreciable symptoms.
What changed? Several things, according to Dr. Fauci. First, the feared shortage of medical-grade personal protective equipment (or PPE) never emerged, thus need to discourage the general public away from procuring PPE evaporated. Second, it became clear that a cloth face covering, be it a store bought mask or gaiter or a homemade DIY cloth face covering, was sufficient to dramatically reduce transmission of the virus to others your own risk of infection. And third, Fauci again noted how high the number of the symptomless infected truly got, citing a potential for as many as 40% of those with COVID-190 being essentially asymptomatic.
And when it comes to a deadly virus that has ravaged populations all over the globe, what you don’t know can hurt. Or kill.
And then there’s this reason to consider why to wear a mask during the coronavirus epidemic. Why not? Fears that mask wearing reduce oxygen levels – or even increase how much carbon dioxide levels people breathe in – have not only not been born out by the science, but have in fact been routinely disproven. Dr. Fauci states in the interview that: “There has not been any indication that putting a mask on and wearing a mask for a considerable period of time has any deleterious effect on oxygen exchange or anything like that.”
If you don’t want to take it from one of the most respected and experienced doctors in America (remember, Dr. Fauci was also on the front lines fighting the Ebola virus in the past), then consider the Dublin, Ireland-based Dr. Maitiu O Tuathail; in a video that went viral the doctor put on six face masks, one over the other, while connected to a machine measuring the oxygen levels in his blood. Throughout the video, his O2 levels remain at a perfect 98 or 99 percent saturation.
When all the doctors are saying to wear a mask and one doctor is saying it through six masks, it’s time to drop the politics and do our part in the fight against COVID-19 by masking up for now so we can unmask and get on with life later, and without putting lives at risk.
Photo Credit: Steve Shapiro